Four Seasons and a Violin!

Four Seasons and a Violin!

Swaledale Festival’s concert in Leyburn on 24 May will feature a very special piece and a very special violin which are the same age and from the same town!

Antonio Vivaldi’s 1725 masterpiece The Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni) is probably the most popular piece in the entire classical music repertoire. The groundbreaking piece helped to define the form of the concerto and influenced numerous composers including Johann Sebastian Bach. 

The piece is in fact a set of four violin concertos which are named, in turn: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, and all four contain a slow movement between two faster ones. The concertos each have a unique and distinctly descriptive character. Winter, for example, sounds cold and icy, and summer is warm and stormy.

Vivaldi was a violinist, like his father, and he was also an ordained priest. He actually wrote more than 500 concertos - half for violin and the rest for instruments including mandolin, lute, viola d'amore, cello, recorder and flute.

Sadly, his prolific output, which includes perhaps the most popular classical piece of all time, didn’t lead to fame and fortune for Vivaldi; he died in poverty in Vienna in 1741, and was buried in a simple grave after a funeral service that took place without music.

The European Union Chamber Orchestra

We are thrilled to welcome one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world to perform Vivaldi’s masterpiece. The EUCO was formed in 1981 and soon gained an international reputation as a musical ambassador for the European Union. The orchestra has toured to great acclaim in East Asia, India, North, South and Central America, North Africa, the Middle East and all across Europe. 

Top soloists who have performed with the orchestra include Tasmin Little, Freddy Kempf, Peter Donohoe, Julian Lloyd Webber, James Galway, Nicola Benedetti, Yehudi Menuhin, Alina Ibragimova, John Lill, Emma Johnson and Sheku Kanneh-Mason. 

Fenella Humphreys - violin soloist

Our soloist for this special performance of The Four Seasons is the brilliant young violinist Fenella Humphreys. Fenella has won worldwide acclaim for the lyrical grace and intensity of her playing, and she has been described in the press as “alluring”, “unforgettable” and “a wonder”!

Fenella won the coveted BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award in 2018 and now enjoys a busy career combining chamber music and solo work, performing in prestigious venues around the world. She has given the first performances of works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sally Beamish, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Piers Hellawell, and she has appeared in concert with, amongst others, Martin Roscoe, Mahan Esfahani and Steven Isserlis. 

Fenella plays a beautiful violin, from the circle of Pietro Guarneri, which was made in the same town (Venice), at around the same time (approximately 300 years ago) that Vivaldi was composing The Four Seasons. Could they have met all those years ago? (Vivaldi and the violin, that is, not Fenella!)

Malcolm Creese - Artistic Director

Book Tickets here to The European Union Chamber Orchestra - Vivaldi, Mozart and more, Sunday 24 May 2020, 19:30 - The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn

Generously sponsored by Sherwoods Motor Group.

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